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Wed 23 Jan 2019 10:23 AM

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Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding 'supportive' of Careem-Uber merger

In September, it was reported that Uber is in talks to acquire Careem in a deal that could value the firm at $2.5 billion

Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding 'supportive' of Careem-Uber merger

Kingdom Holding Co., one of Careem Networks FZ’s biggest backers, supports a potential merger between the Middle East ride-hailing firm and Uber Technologies Inc., according to the head of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s investment firm.

“We don’t interfere nor are we party to the discussions, and if it ever happens I think we are supportive of it yes,” CEO Talal Bin Ibrahim Al Maiman said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Uber is in talks to acquire Careem to help the ride-hailing giant expand in the Middle East in a deal that could value the Dubai-based firm at $2 billion to $2.5 billion, people with knowledge of the plans said in September. Saudi billionaire Alwaleed joined a $500 million-fundraising round by Careem in 2017 and invested again in October. Kingdom Holding also has a seat on the company’s board.

Spin Off

Separately, Kingdom Holding may be ready to spin off some of its real-estate investments next year, but is currently focusing on developing new projects, Al Maiman said. “We are not yet into the spinning mode, we are in development mode,” he said.

Prince Alwaleed, in an interview with Bloomberg in March, said he was considering splitting Kingdom Holding’s domestic property portfolio and some other assets from the main investment firm.

The company has also signed term sheets for a $1 billion loan with two local banks and four international lenders, Al Maiman said.

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